The National Green Tribunal on Friday issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the Environment department of Delhi government and the state pollution control authorities, seeking replies on why clearances had been given to projects in the Najafgarh drain basin area in West and South Delhi in spite of a ban on such clearances by MoEF.
In January 2010, MoEF had classified the Najafgarh drain basin area, including Okhla, Naraina, Anand Parbat and Wazirpur industrial areas as “Critically Polluted Industrial Areas and Clusters” after analysis of 88 industrial clusters on a comprehensive environmental pollution index (CEPI).
The MoEF had in its order on January 13, 2010, imposed temporary moratorium on granting environmental clearances to industrial areas which had a CEPI score over 70.
According to the petition filed by Shalimar Bagh resident Mahendra Pandey, over 70 projects in the Najafgarh drain basin area had been given clearance by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) since January 2010, in clear violation of various office memorandums issued by the MoEF.
During the hearing on the plea before the principal bench of Justice Swatanter Kumar, advocate Gaurav Bansal told the NGT that environmental clearances had been issued in gross violation of the memorandums.
“Instead of protecting the environment and abating the pollution of the Najafgarh drain basin the respondents have made up their mind to protect the interest of the project proponents,” the plea said.
It sought directions from NGT to cancel clearances granted after January 2010.